What is a health club?

By Dana Stetson


After many years of serious indecision I finally bit the bullet and joined a “health club”. I was under the impression that it was a gym until I read the sign out front. Now everybody knows a gym is where you go to lift weights but, what exactly is a health club?

In an attempt to answer this deeply controversial question I reached for my yellow pages. Their answer is a gym is where you learn gymnastics. Everything else is a variant of health club or a fitness center or even a fitness club. This includes everything from the YMCA to Elite Fitness Studio.

But, as Bill Shakespeare said, a rose by any other name is still liable to prick you. So, anyway I joined this health club and its full of fun fitness stuff. Upstairs you have your various “hamster wheel” devices for squeezing the fat right off you.

Many a morning I have watched from the pool as countless volunteers run, job, hop, and strut their way to fitness in some bizarre ritual known as cardio-fitness. It doesn’t look too fun to me, but what do I know. This club has an indoor track which is like 1/807 of a mile so you can imagine the ultras that get run here (sorry about that ruined inner knee!).

It also has an indoor basketball court so you don’t have to get sweaty to play. This also keeps those really mean real basketball players away. There are also racquetball, handball, and squashball courts and for those really vicious individuals, badminton, also.

In the weight lifting department there are “free” weights which means you’re free to drop them if you lift too much, and about every kind of weight machine. Each of which has an international diagram explaining which area of the body it can inflame. I’m kinda scared to even go in this area as even the old ladies that hang here can kick my butt.

Next, you have your “spin class”. This sport has got to have been invented in America. You learn to ride a bike that goes nowhere real fast for no reason, and they don’t like for you to sweat on it.

Next, you have your leg warmer classes, which involve stepping up and down to music on some kinda step thing. This leaves the final area of exercise exploitation, water aerobics. This involves what seems to be hundreds of elderly people and their “noodles” splashing around in a piranha inspired frenzy while Tony Orlando music blares in the background. This is a sight to see, nuff said.

The thing to keep in mind while watching all this activity is that these folks are concerned about their health, and are doing something positive about it, and at least they’re not prowling the street somewhere.

Other areas of special interest are the “health bar” (no booze allowed) which sells many potions good for the mind and body. There are massage and many lectures available for those who wish them (Your Friend the Pancreas, and Roughage, How Much is too Much?).

So, this is a study of the mysterious world of health clubs. As for me, I use the pool to swim, hang out in the Jacuzzi watching the world go by, and that’s enough health for me.